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Bodhgaya

BodhgayaBodhgaya located in the Gaya district in Bihar is renowned for being the place where Gautama Buddha’s accomplished enlightenment that is, nirvana. Earlier this place was called Bodhimanda, comprising of a big monastic settlement. The chief monastery here at Bodhgya was known as the Bodhimands vihara or Pali. In the present time it is known as Mahabodhi temple. For Buddhists Bodhgaya is the most significant Buddhist pilgrimage site among the other three: Kushinagar, Sarnath and Lumini. Mahabodhi temple in the year 2002 became the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As the Buddhist tradition goes, Prince Siddhartha a traveling monk reached near the city of Gaya and sat in meditation under the Bodhi tree. He accomplished enlightenment, clarification and insight to the answers he sought after three days and three nights. Meditating and reflecting on his experience, he stayed at seven diverse places near by over a period of seven weeks. Afterwards, he moved on to Sarnath where he started training, educating and teaching Buddhism.

The Mahabodhi temple is situated at Patna with a diamond throne known as the Vajrasana and the sacred Bodhi tree making it an important Buddhist site. This tree grew from a sampling of the original Bodhi tree as this was previously a sapling of the Sri Maha Bodhi in Sri Lanka. As it has been passed on, it is assumed that Emperor Ashoka visited Bodhgaya 250 years after enlightenment of the Buddha. Some historians think that this temple in this Buddhist pilgrimage was built or refurbished in the 1st century in the Kushan era. The temple was discarded and forgotten buried under layers of sand. This temple was later, with the help of British Archaeological Society re-established by Sir Alexander Cunningham in the 19th century. In 1833, Alexander Cunningham along with Dr Rajendralal Miitra excavated the site.